The eighth episode of the online series to feature video presentations and a panel discussion on directing and ensemble creation, led by the
Co-Founders of the National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation Andrea Assaf, Meena Natarajan, and Dipankar Mukherjee.
Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) announces speakers for the eighth episode of its ongoing monthly ConFest Virtual Series, “Directing and Ensemble Creation: Asian American Directors in Conversation and Practice” on Monday, February 8th, 2021 at 1PM HST, 2PM AKST, 3PM PST, 4PM MST, 5PM CST, and 6PM EST. The episode will be hosted by Andrea Assaf (Founding Artistic & Executive Director, Art2Action), Meena Natarajan (Artistic & Executive Director, Pangea World Theater), and Dipankar Mukherjee (Artistic Director, Pangea World Theater); with an introduction and land acknowledgement by Leilani Chan (Founding Artistic Director, TeAda Productions) and Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa).
The episode will highlight CAATA artists who have graduated from Art2Action and Pangea World Theater’s National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation and will include presentations from Institute alumni, including Soomi Kim who will lead a training on physical devising; Marlina Gonzalez who will share her expertise on sound, language, and voice; and Denise Uyehara who will provide guidance on memory and objects.
“Directing an Ensemble Creation: Asian American Directors and Practice” will also feature a panel discussion moderated by Assaf, Mukerjee during which Natarajan with Gozalez, Kim, and Uyehara will detail their directing methodologies; explain how their learnings from the Institute impacted their work; share videos of directing projects they undertook as Institute students; and address how the pandemic and the rise in anti-Asian racism has affected their artistic process.
The National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation was developed by Pangea World Theater and Art2Action Inc.with eight nationally prominent performing arts networks including Alternate ROOTS, Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), National Performance Network (NPN), Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), and Theatre Communications Group (TCG). The Institute is dedicated to professional peer exchange and training the next generation of theatre artists of color and women directors.
“Directing an Ensemble Creation: Asian American Directors in Conversation and Practice,” is the eighth episode of CAATA ConFest’s Virtual Series exploring the theme of the upcoming 7th Asian American Theater Festival & Conference (ConFest) “Kuʻu ʻĀina, Kuʻu Piko, Kuʻu Kahua – Return to the Source” in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, May 20-29, 2022. The in-person ConFest will center the voices of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander theater practitioners, and feature the thriving theater community of Hawaiʻi, where Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander faces on stage are the norm, not the exception. “Ku‘u ‘Āina, Ku‘u Piko, Ku‘u Kahua – Return to the Source” is a call to all theatre artists to reconnect with their foundations and their sources of knowledge: their land, their family, their center. The online series and its presentation of the wide diaspora of Pan-Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle East North African, and Native & Indigenous American stories will be a vehicle through which both the audience and artists can ground themselves in their cultural knowledge and the many identities that we bring to our communities.
“Future episodes of the series will feature artists from across the country who represent some of the most groundbreaking work in American theatre, and includes stories from across the breadth of the Pan Asian/Pacific Islander/MENA/Native/Indigenous American diaspora, including Hawaiʻi, Egypt, Vietnam, and more,” said ConFest Co-Chairs Leilani Chan (Founding Artistic Director, TeAda Productions) and Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker (Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa). They added, “This series is not meant to be a replacement for the conference and festival, but is an offering to begin discussions around artists, topics and themes proposed by the field that we hope will culminate in celebration when we are able to gather in person again next year. Our goal is to also continue dialogue with other BIPOC networks of color and connect artists with current BIPOC movements.”
The ConFest Virtual Series is being produced in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons in Boston, MA, a nonprofit organization that operates as part of Emerson Collegeʻs Office of the Arts. HowlRound provides a free and open platform for theatre-makers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners. The series will be presented on HowlRound TV, HowlRoundʻs global, commons-based peer produced, open access live streaming and video archive project.
Maximiliano Urruzmendi-Mele will be the series Technical Director, and CAATA staff member Ariel Estrada will be the series Line Producer. A full schedule of broadcast dates for the ConFest Virtual Series can be found on CAATAʻs website at https://caata.net/monthly-confest-virtual-series/
Photo: From National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation